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Lot 98D: Framed 1950s Panamanian Mola - Two Water Birds
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Central America, Panama, San Blas Islands, Kuna/Cuna, ca. 1950 CE. A finely crafted example of this folk art form created by the Kuna Native American women artisans, comprised of many layers of fabric in brilliant hues of green, orange, pink, yellow, red, blue, and black. The iconography depicts a pair of symmetrically positioned water birds with long beaks in profile, facing one another. Mounted in a black wood frame. Size: 17" W x 16" H (43.2 cm x 40.6 cm)
The folk craft of creating molas began about 125 years ago when the Kunas moved from the mainland to the islands. In their new environment, cooler nights necessitated warmer clothing. At first, women created blouses adorned with simple applique borders, but as time went on, they increased the scale of the decorative areas until the entire front and back panels were comprised of multi-layered, quilted textile designs. This distinctive art form has evolved into a tradition of exceptionally fine needlework and meaningful symbolism.
Provenance: Ex - private Colorado collection
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Condition Report: Tiny loss to lower right corner as shown. Else intact and excellent.